The Original Lo-Fi

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Collecting all five of Baby Bird's usually impossible-to-find lo-fi albums, and adding a new compilation of rarities (The Black Album), The Original Lo-Fi is essential listening for all Baby Bird completists. I Was Born a Man, Bad Shave, Fatherhood, The Happiest Man Alive, and Dying Happy are the stuff of legend in the world of indie lo-fi recordings. Stephen Jones released a majority of the albums before the more polished "You're Gorgeous" launched his career into the Top 40, and amidst these many songs are wonderfully beautiful goldmines of emotion and brilliant displays of genius songwriting. The Black Album is every bit as chock-full of glorious melodies, eccentric wordplay, and Jones' touching, sweet vocals. Pianos twinkle eerily over bleak soundscapes, Jones intones alternately with deep tones, high-pitched screeches, and fuzzed-out cacophony; hip-hop beats mingle seamlessly with music box dynamics, and tender personal songs recorded as song fragments work like the most epic pop creations ever recorded. The Original Lo-Fi should cement Baby Bird's reputation as one of the finest experimental pop artists of his time. While the forlorn textures of so many of these songs might turn off some listeners, anyone who appreciates originality and gorgeous melodies should revel in the consistently ragged perfection of the lo-fi marvels that emerge from this collection. Written, performed, and produced as only Stephen Jones is capable of, the songs compiled on The Original Lo-Fi are easily among the finest musical confections of a generation.

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